Saturday 9 December 2017. Cherry Red Combined Counties League, Premier Division.
Chertsey Town 1 Walton & Hersham 2.
A much improved second-half performance gave Swans a valuable three points as they completed their first double of the season, beating a Chertsey Town side determined to get revenge for their 7-0 drubbing in the final match at Stompond Lane. The Curfews were full of confidence following their 5-1 win at Hanworth Villa, and they proved difficult opponents for a Swans’ side still looking below par following three straight defeats. Having taken the lead after 25 minutes, the home side were able to drop off and get men behind the ball to deny a sluggish looking Swans in the first-half. But a couple of personnel changes for the second-half proved the catalyst for a much better display, and Swans ended up good value for their win.
On the coldest day of the season so far Swans brought in new signing Sam Shaban, who has played for Barking this season, and he should have marked his debut with a goal after just three minutes, but he headed a close-in chance wide when Malachi Thomas took a corner from the left.
Chertsey’s first effort was a 25 yard strike from James Bell that went straight through to goalkeeper Brendan Norris.
Swans continued to have the better of the attacking play however, and Flo Bojaj set up a chance for Abdeen Abdul in the right of the 6-yard box, but home keeper Tom Bryant got the ball round his near-post. After 24 minutes, and following some clever work by Bojaj, Abdul played Athan Smith-Joseph clear in the box, but he had his back to goal and could not get the ball past Bryant, and the keeper was able to fall on it.
But it was the home side who took the lead just a minute later. Dan Price was allowed to make a long run forward, and he was eventually brought down just outside the left edge of the box. Price took the resultant free-kick himself, and struck a fine shot that found the far, top corner.
From then on Swans struggled to find any penetration as Chertsey packed their defence. Abdul was wide with a shot from 25 yards when Bojaj laid the ball off to him, but the best chance to equalise came with just under ten minutes left to the break. Following a corner on the right the ball was crossed in, and when it was nodded on Smith-Joseph headed over from close-in at the far-post.
Swans made a double substitution for the second-half, with Julian Hornby and TJ Nkoma replacing Smith-Joseph and Shaban, allowing Howard Newton to move into midfield.
Nkoma was soon being played down the right, but a fine ball driven across the 6-yard box only led to a free-kick for the home side.
Chertsey had a free-kick just inside Swans’ half, and Lewis Taylor’s long range strike went disturbingly close to the left-post.
But Swans had looked far more threatening since the resumption, and they equalised just past the hour. Nkoma was found on the right, and from a tight angle he lashed the ball across with the outside of his right foot, and it swerved wickedly past a startled keeper and just inside the far-post.
Two minutes later Swans should have gone ahead, but looked to be denied by the vagaries of the pitch. Howard Newton robbed a Chertsey defender 22 yards out to get clear with just keeper Bryant to beat, but the ball seemed to bobble at the vital moment and he looped it over the bar. Thomas then got the ball inside to Abdul from the right of the box, but he was just denied and had to settle for a corner. With just over ten minutes remaining Jake Newton’s shot from outside the box was blocked and the ball ran to Chris Onoufriou in space on the left, but his low drive could only find the side-netting.
Nkoma cut in from the right to strike a left-foot shot that flew just over, before Swans took the lead after 84 minutes. Thomas swung the ball over from wide on the left, and the keeper was beaten as it bounced back off the crossbar. Abdul followed in to head home from a yard out to secure a valuable three points for Swans.
Swans’ Team: Brendan Norris, Howard Newton, Jim Fenlon, Chris Onoufriou, Jake Newton, Jamie Thoroughgood, Athan Smith-Joseph (Julian Hornby 45’), Abdeen Abdul, Sam Shaban (TJ Nkoma 45’), Flo Bojaj, Malachi Thomas (Shaun Smart 90+3’). Subs. not used: Dave Musendo, Cameron Gyeabour. Scorers: Nkoma (61’), Abdul (84’). Cautions: Thomas, kicked ball away (50’), Abdul, time wasting (90+4’).
Chertsey Team: Bryant, Newman, Geraghty, North (Bennani 83’), Adoo-Peters, Blendell, Price, Bell (Jones 77’), Pomroy (Cullen 68’), Mukudi, Taylor. Subs. not used: Ogbuogu, Young. Scorer: Price (25’).